The other day I was having a good laugh at myself over how much trouble I was having parking my car. I said to myself “Well I’m really bad at this, but that’s okay, because I’m really good at the things I’m good at”.
And I thought back to my friends in high school who put such a high value on being able to drive well that they talked shit about their friends behind their backs who didn’t live up to the ideal of perfectly skillful driving. In retrospect, this was ridiculous. We were in high school. How much driving experience could any of us have had? A year? Two years, tops? Hardly enough time to be truly expert at something.
But I think this is a fundamental part of the male psyche – an excessive need to feel competent at everything.
This drive is a good thing if it makes you learn new things. But it can be a bad thing if it makes you unwilling to ask for help or try anything new for fear of looking inept.
As an extreme example, there are men out there who don’t know how to wipe their asses correctly, don’t know how to use oven mitts, and don’t know that you should put the seat down when taking a poo.
The author of the article I linked above says this is a function of male privilege, which is true, but I think it’s also a symptom of male insecurity. The fear of admitting, even to yourself, that you don’t know how to do something.
The problem with pretending to be good at everything is that not only is it impossible, it makes you less likable. Think about it – have you ever met a guy who talked non-stop about everything he knew and everything he was good at? It’s annoying, isn’t it? Do you think women like it anymore than you do? (Hint: they don’t)
In Mexico, I dated a girl who was a real bad-ass in many ways. She was a much better driver than I was and she could parallel park like nobody’s business. Did I care? No. I knew that she wasn’t dating me for my parallel parking skills. She was dating me because I was fun to be with and I satisfied her sexually. One time I was leaning over the steering wheel to see better and she said “Baby, you drive like an old woman”. I leaned even further over the steering wheel and said, in an old lady voice: “What makes you say that?” We both had a good laugh. Now imagine if I had instead allowed her playful teasing to make me insecure, and either lashed out verbally or just simmered with hurt pride for the rest of the day? Do you think that would have made me more attractive to her?
A man who’s confident enough to admit that he’s not good at everything is much more attractive than a man who’s constantly trying to maintain the façade of perfect macho-man competence. So how do you get to that level of confidence?
I think it all comes down to self-love. The obsessive need to be good at everything is fundamentally rooted in a lack of self-love. A fear that we’re not good enough. So let go of it and start loving yourself more. When you do that, other people will find it much easier to love you. Even if you’re not good at everything.
Stay sexy, my friends.